It's no secret that smartphones are notorious battery hogs, with some devices having an almost embarrassing screen-on time. Those big luscious AMOLED and LCD screens are an obvious drain on your battery, but did you know there's lots of things you can do behind the scenes to get the most out of your Android? Read on for our best battery saving tips to make your battery last longer.
First, some background: most smartphones have either a Lithium Ion battery or a Lithium Polymer battery. Both are Lithium Ion though, and as such, do not have a ''memory'' which means you don't have to fully charge or discharge them at the beginning, and partial charging is fine throughout their life. In fact, these types of batteries suffer from low voltage, so it's actually much better to charge them, even if only a little, whenever you have the chance rather than to fully charge and fully drain them.
1. Use a dark colored background
If your phone has an AMOLED screen (like most Samsungs), use a dark colored background, because AMOLED screens only illuminate the colored pixels. Black pixels are unlit, so the more black pixels you have, or the more darker pixels, the less battery you need to light them up.
2. Make apps darker too
Using darker app backgrounds/themes and darker launcher themes will further prolong your battery life (if your device has an AMOLED screen).
3. Get rid of auto-brightness
Don't use display auto-brightness. It may sound good, but auto-brightness is usually way brighter than you really need. It's much better to manually set a super low brightness level that is still comfortable, and then just bump it up when necessary. This is one of the main ways to improve your battery life as the screen is one of the biggest battery suckers.
4. Vibrate away!
Switch off vibrate. Unless you really need that added awareness, turn off vibration. It actually takes more power to vibrate your phone than it does to ring it. Turn off haptic feedback too. Sure it feels cool, but it doesn't really add anything to your experience, and it's another battery drainer.
5. Don't use a knockoff
Only use original batteries or respected third party manufacturer batteries. Saving a few bucks on a battery that might damage your beloved smartphone is a poor choice indeed, and may also deliver sub-standard battery performance.
6. Having a timeout is good
Set your display's screen timeout to as short a time as is practical for you. Just think, if your screen timeout is set to a minute, it'll use four times the amount of power to have it on, every time you switch your screen on, than if your timeout is set to 15 seconds. Studies report the average smartphone user turns their smartphone on 150 times a day, so anything you can do to limit that frequency (through self-control or other methods listed below) will help keep your battery running for longer.
7. Get your notifications to leave you alone at night
Set ''sleep times'' or ''blocking mode'' to switch off Wi-Fi and mobile data when you don't need them. If your phone is basically off limits at work, set your device to not ring, vibrate or connect to the internet while you're at work. Likewise, you can set your phone to airplane mode when you're asleep or use sleep or blocking modes to set up limits for what your phone does during certain times of the day, whether that's while you're asleep, at work or in a meeting. Get to know the specific settings your ROM offers. Not only will you have to fiddle with your phone less throughout the day (or night), but you'll be saving on battery life too.
8. Your phone doesn't have to be smart all the time
Turn off smart features like air gestures, smart scrolling and the like, especially if you have a Samsung. Unless you really use these features every day, they're just using battery power for a feature you don't use.
9. Nor do you need to be connected 24/7
Turn off GPS, Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi and mobile data whenever you don't need them. Turning off location data, or setting it to use Wi-Fi or 3G data rather than GPS works perfectly well. Only turn on Bluetooth and NFC as long as you need them, and there's no need to have both Wi-Fi and mobile data turned on at all times. If you use Wi-Fi a lot though, say at home and at work, then it makes sense to keep set your Wi-Fi to ''Always on during sleep'' as this uses less power than to have your Wi-Fi reconnecting every time you wake your phone.
10. Try out Dynamic Notifications
Use lock screen widgets or notifications if your ROM supports them, or install an app that does it for you like Dynamic Notifications. You'll be able to get basically all your content without having to unlock your phone fully and navigating around. You still need to light your screen up, but you'll have it on for much less time than normal. If you have an AMOLED screen device, using a lock screen notification app with a black background can save your battery life significantly.
11. Don't get bogged down by widgets
Ditch widgets you don't really need, especially those that are connected to the internet like weather widgets.
12. Don't let your apps fall behind the times
Keep your apps updated. There's a reason developers constantly update apps, and many of these reasons are memory and battery optimizations. Keeping your apps updated also means you have the best optimizations available. Likewise, delete old apps you no longer use, as these may be running background processes that chew up RAM and battery life.
13. Use your battery saving mode, now!
If your phone has a battery or power saving mode or other battery management option, make use of it.
14. Explore the battery saving features on your phone
All ROMs, whether it's stock Android, OEM UI's like TouchWiz or custom ROMs like CyanogenMod, have various settings in the menu to help conserve or optimize battery consumption here and there. Find these various options for your device and ROM and make them work for you!
15. Choose when you sync your data
Turn off auto-syncing for Google accounts. If you don't need every single Google account updated every fifteen minutes, just go into your Settings and Google account and turn off auto-sync for those apps you don't need constantly updated.
16. Be the master of your app updates
Set apps to update only when you launch them. If you rarely (or very frequently) open an app, it might be better to only have it update when you do so, rather than updating automatically all the time via push notifications or sync intervals. If you only check email once a day, why not let the app update then only, and if you're on a widget or app every couple of hours anyway then why not have it update each time rather than every fifteen minutes when you're not even looking at it.
17. Be app update savvy in the Google Play Store
Change your Google Play Store settings to manual update your apps. If you have the Play Store set to auto-update, you might have fifteen apps updating when you least expect it, destroying your battery life (and data plan) without you realizing it. If you use even half of these battery saving tips you'll see a marked improvement in your battery life.
18. Turn off Google hotwords
Stop your phone from always listening. Google's "Ok Google" voice searching is a fantastic and often very functional feature. The problem is that it can play havoc with your battery. Go into "Google settings" from your app drawer and tap the "voice" heading. On the next page, select '"Ok Google' detection". In this menu, the best option for battery life would be to untick all boxed, but if you are a fan of "Ok Google", tick only the "From Google Search app" box to ensure your device is only primed while in the Google app.
19. Get rid of animations
Disable animations. This process may differ slightly from device to device but the crux of it should remain the same. Go to your settings and to the "about phone" page. Tap on the "build number" around 7 times. You will be notified that you have become an "Android developer" (don't worry, enabling the Android developer options doesn't have any adverse affects, it just adds another option in your settings menu). Go back to your settings and tap on the newly inserted "developer options" menu at the bottom. On the next page, scroll down to where it says "window animation scale," "transition animation scale" and "animator duration scale", and switch all of these off. Your device's interface may no=longer look as pretty, but the battery life will be better.
20. Make your location services more battery-friendly too!
Turning off location services isn't just a fantastic way to save on your battery, it saves on your data plan too! Go into your settings and you will find "location" under the "personal" heading - tap on it. At the top of the next page it you will see "mode" in this menu you will be able to set the options for how your smartphone determines your location. Select "battery saving" on the following page.
Did we miss anything? What are your best battery saving tips?